So, I deleted my Facebook account for the month of July. I did so for several reasons, but I will share my top three:
- It’s a total time-suck. Do you ever think, “let me check Facebook for a second” only to glance at the clock and realize you’ve been staring at your screen for like 20 minutes scrolling through some mutual friend’s photos who you’ve never met before? And I wonder why my dishes were never done.
- It’s gotten a bit messy for my taste. People today have pretty much lost their communication skills. Facebook has become the biggest soapbox. While I’m all for freedom of opinion and expression, and I understand and advocate for the value in conversation with others about more than the weather, please do not refrain from using basic people-skills online. If you wouldn’t bring it up at a dinner party, or if you wouldn’t say that exact thing to someone’s face, then just don’t do it. Those who thrive on posting or commenting on controversial topics on Facebook just don’t seem to follow that rule *in my opinion.* There is too much, “well I think this, and it’s right, and I”m not going to read your argument” type of attitude. Also, as someone with a communications background, let me tell you…there is SO much of the conversation that we miss out on by not seeing a person’s expression, hearing the inflection in their voice, and observing their body language. If I say something sarcastically online, but fail to clarify that I’m being sarcastic, you best believe someone is going to be all up in my business with a word or two about that.
Social media is now. It’s happening, it’s unavoidable. But we still have to use courtesy and recognize that what we type is in fact going to be read by another human being with feelings and emotions. I would encourage people who want to share strong opinions about a specific subject matter to either a) do so privately on Facebook so I don’t have to navigate through all that negativity or b) avoid posting it online and instead talk to people about it face to face. There is power and knowledge in debate and *respectful* discussion with other people of differing opinions. It’s how we learn and grow. Just remember, emphasis on respectful.
- It fuels gossip. Of this, I am 100% guilty. Ever notice that you can be in a group of people and say, “did you see what so-in-so posted about on Facebook?” or “did you see that picture so-in-so was tagged in and where they were/who they were with/what they were doing?” Facebook depletes our privacy. Generally, in signing up for such a platform, I’m pretty sure most people agree to it on some front. But something that I just cannot stand is when people read off their newsfeed, like it’s some celebrity gossip magazine. We hardly ever know the whole story to anything–let’s be honest–so gleaning information from a haphazardly composed status or photo isn’t the wisest of decisions.
So why did I decide to return? Basically for a couple of the awesome aspects of the site:
- It keeps me in touch. I live far away from family and some close friends. Facebook allows me to stay connected with them and to share glimpses of life with each other.
- It’s a great platform to support people. I know individuals who are small business owners, band members, having a garage sale, or promoting an event. Facebook is an excellent way to show your support for those people and their endeavors and also spreading the word to your network of friends to check these things out. Having worked in marketing, I understand the expense of advertising and promotion. I have also seen the behind-the-scenes benefits of Facebook sharing, and believe me, it’s one of the best ways to help a brother or sister out and get there name to the public.
What has giving it up for a month taught me? A great many things. Here’s two:
- I know my limits. I will no longer have Facebook on my phone. I’m just not going there. It’s too easily accessible, and it’s a temptation for me that I don’t want to give into any longer. I will check my Facebook at a designated time during the day, and that’s that.
- I can be an example. My Facebook posts will no longer be used for rants (that’s what THIS blog is for after all 😉 ). It will not push a political agenda, though that’s not really something I did anyway. Instead, it will be used to show off my cute little family, and to keep in touch with friends and family that are far away.
Social media is awesome. It connects us in ways we could never have thought possible. But just like anything else, moderation is key. And remember, social media deals with PEOPLE. We have opinions, feelings, and emotions. What you say to my face affects me just as much as what you type on my newsfeed.